For enterprises, the benefits include lower connectivity costs and operating expenses when compared to traditional MPLS-based WAN or private lines. In addition, SD-WAN should improve a company’s WAN visibility and control. On the other hand, for service providers, the benefits of SD-WAN are unclear.

In fact, SD-WAN might even be a threat to service providers. Why is that? Mainly because SD-WAN is an overlay technology. The virtual connections that enable an SD-WAN to run on the public Internet use low-price broadband access links (DSL, PON, and LTE). The service provider could lose valuable enterprise MPLS or private-line revenue.

There are a number of important challenges for service providers’ SD-WAN service deployments, including:

  • Avoiding the creation of a new operational silo
  • Lock-in to a single SD-WAN vendor or solution
  • Integrating SD-WAN with the existing OSS/BSS for lifecycle management
  • Differentiating a managed WAN service offering

SD-WAN applies software-defined networking principles to WANs.

Many service providers are working with Ciena to move to SD-WAN managed services. Ciena’s Blue Planet is helping a number of providers capitalize on rapidly growing demand by offering SD-WAN as a managed service to enterprise customers.

Blue Planet provides a flexible, open orchestration framework that helps service providers overcome challenges related to operationalizing managed SD-WAN service deployments.

By serving as a vendor-agnostic abstraction layer, Blue Planet helps service providers with the following:

  • Utilizes open, vendor-agnostic orchestration eliminates lock-in to any single SD-WAN solution, avoiding inefficient operational silos
  • Reduces OSS integration complexity and cost via REST APIs, simplifying service lifecycle management
  • Enables service differentiation by simplifying the combination of SD-WANs with cloud, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and physical WAN resources using TOSCA-based templates
  • Supports multiple SD-WAN solutions today via the Blue Orbit SDN and NFV Ecosystem
  • Facilitates rapid on-boarding of any SD-WAN solution via the Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit

Ciena’s Blue Planet provides a proven orchestration platform that serves as an open abstraction layer, enabling service providers to avoid vendor lock-in to any specific SD-WAN solution and creating service differentiation by simplifying the combination of SD-WANs with cloud, NFV, and physical WAN resources. This paves the way for a broad suite of services that appeal to enterprises’ needs in today’s dynamic, bandwidth-hungry world.